You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Some personal news first, though: I’m leaving FiveThirtyEight soon to start a forthcoming daily newsletter, Numlock News. SigDig will absolutely continue with a new writer, but if you’ve been a fan of my run please subscribe.
The Arctic’s ice is getting younger. In 1984, 61 percent of ice cover was multi-year ice, which is ice that has endured the warmer summer temperatures for a number of years. A new report puts current multi-year ice levels at only 34 percent. More to the point, ice that’s more than five years old now accounts for a measly 2 percent of ice cover. That has significant implications for the region in a time of climate change. [Scientific American]
It’s wedding season, which means you now have a higher-than-normal chance of spending time in or in the vicinity of a barn. A survey from The Knot, which offers wedding services, reported that 15 percent of couples who got married in 2017 held their reception in a barn, farm or ranch, up from 2 percent in 2009. [The Atlantic]
Californians are now just as likely to register to vote without a party affiliation as they are to say they’re Republican. While Democrats’ numbers have stayed mostly level, Republicans have dipped from the high thirties of registered voters in the 1990s to just 25.3 percent today. That’s just a bit higher than the 25.1 percent who do not affiliate with a party. [Daniel Donner]
280,000 truck drivers
Two years ago, the U.S. had 78,000 fewer truck drivers than it needed. Now that shortfall is 280,000. As a result, truckers are getting perks they weren’t just a few years ago. [Bloomberg]
A plan to eradicate a rodent infestation of South Georgia Island in the proximity of Antarctica has been a success. Conservators spent $13.5 million to drop 300 tons of poisoned bait since 2011, and now the invasive rats that preyed on native bird species have been annihilated. [Smithsonian Magazine]
Estimated amount of money “Avengers: Infinity War” made in its first weekend in China. While that’s second to the record release of “The Fate of the Furious” last year, it’s still an enormous opening for the movie. Studios get about 25 percent of ticket sales in China compared to about 60 percent domestically. [The Wall Street Journal]
Check out Besides the Points, our sports newsletter.
If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.